If your bicycling plans involve any paths, bikeways, or roads around the Willamette River, be on the lookout for water.
🚨Welcome to BP StormTracker Central!🚨
How’s the weather treating you? Are you still riding?
The snowmaggedon news coverage, business and school closures, and myriad warnings from local agencies have kept some people from driving. That’s created lower than usual auto traffic — a good thing for people on bikes. But, the conditions pose challenges for bike riders too. With several inches of new snow in the forecast, I thought it was a good time to check in about the weather.
You’ve decided to start biking more with your little ones. You’ve found routes that work for you. You’ve got your bike set-up figured out.
And then you look outside and realize it’s 35 degrees.
Pedaling my heavy bike keeps me warm, but it’s a different story for my non-pedaling passengers. They need at least one extra layer when it’s cold outside. That’s one of the many things I’ve learned over the years.
As we get our first major snow storm of the year, this week’s post is all about how to stay warm and dry while biking with kids. First, I’ll go over the things you can put on your bike, then I’ll share the things you can (hopefully) put on your kids.
Hi everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season.
Once again, the start of winter came with a flurry in Portland. While some people rejoiced at the festive mood made possible by a Christmas Eve snowfall, others probably saw it as just a hassle that made getting around town nearly impossible.
After last year’s drubbing from multiple snow and ice storms, the City of Portland vowed to be better prepared. They came out with a new Snow and Ice Plan and promised to be more attentive to street conditions. We’ve also noticed that the Office of Neighborhood Involvement wants to hear your stories, “on how lingering snow and ice impact the accessibility, livability, and safety of Winter Portland.”
After severe storms unleashed havoc on our roads and heaps of criticism on the City of Portland’s response, Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman laid out a new plan at a city hall press conference a few hours ago.
PBOT Director Leah Treat told us last week the City was, “Specifically going to look at expanding our de-icing and plow routes to include neighborhood greenways.”
Unfortunately, this new plan doesn’t do that. Instead of plowing residential streets that are the backbone of our biking network, Commissioner Saltzman announced two other changes to the City’s storm response plan. After resisting the use of salt due to environmental concerns, PBOT now says they plan to use up to 100 tons of it on at least three major roads during upcoming storms. This “largest use of road salt in the modern history of Portland,” will be a test to see how effective salt is at keeping roads free of ice and snow. In addition, they’ve announced an 30 percent expansion in the number of lane miles that will be plowed.
We knew the salt decision was coming; but it’s the plow route we were most curious about going into today’s press conference. As we reported last week, not only were bike lanes and bikeways left piled with snow during the storm, they’ve been covered in gravel for weeks.
For people who ride bikes in Portland, those nasty winter storms are far from over. The weeks of rain, ice, snow, studded tires, chains, and plows have wreaked havoc on roads — especially in the space used for cycling.
It’s one thing to deal with it in a well-cushioned car, but another thing entirely when trying to navigate a bicycle: Ride in the gravel, mud and other hazards and you risk flats or losing control; ride in the lane and you risk interactions with motor vehicle users.
We hate to complain; but this situation is not new. It’s also dangerous and we haven’t seen significant steps taken to improve it even though it has been on the City’s radar for many years. We’ve documented hazardous post-storm cycling conditions (and PBOT’s response to it or lack thereof) in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014.
It looks like the worst of the snow and and ice and cold is finally behind us. According to my weather app we should be back to the normal 50s and rain by next week.
But with a foot of snow still on the ground and cold temps sticking around, our roads and paths will be a mess for quite a while. That means it will be tricky getting around town and some of our favorite destinations won’t be open for business. With that in mind, it’s time to share what you know about local routes and destinations.
How does Biketown, Portland’s bike share system, stack up against other modes of travel during extreme weather? How would it work — or would it work at all — during a major snowstorm?
Those were the questions that have been on my mind after my brief foray on a Biketown bike late last night.
This morning I wanted to give it a real test. With twice as much snow on the ground as there was last night, I rolled over to my local Biketown station. My goal was to get downtown and back. Here’s what I learned…
A record amount of snow has fallen in Portland. There’s over a foot in some places, it’s still falling, and forecasters say it’s not going anywhere.
Most of the city has shut down. Schools, government offices, and many businesses can’t stay open because driving is so hazardous that people simply can’t reach destinations (imagine if more of us lived closer to where we work!). This means our streets are mostly quiet and calm — perfect for us to enjoy as should always be the case.
What does all this mean for you? Are you still biking? What are your plans for today?